Can You Eat Eggs If You Have Diabetes?

Registered dietitian Kathy Stone weighs in on whether this complete protein is a fit for those watching their blood sugar.

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Navigating a diagnosis of diabetes can be challenging, especially when figuring out exactly which foods can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Can you eat eggs if you have diabetes? Yes!

“Eggs can be an excellent source of protein in a balanced diet that helps a person with diabetes stay on track with controlling their diabetes,” says Kathy Stone, MS, RD, CDCES, a certified diabetes care and education specialist. “The key aspect of any animal product—eggs, cheese, meat, fish or poultry—is that they do not have carbohydrates, which is the primary contributor to elevation of blood sugars in the diet.”

Are Eggs Good for People with Diabetes?

Since eggs are made up of protein and fat, they’re a healthy option for most people with diabetes.

“While anything can raise blood sugar, because eggs lack carbohydrates, they are unlikely to raise blood sugar in moderation,” says Stone. “A balanced diet containing animal products for sources of protein—including eggs and egg whites—should be balanced with carbohydrates and healthy fats to achieve diabetes and cardiac goals.”

As part of a balanced diet, people with diabetes can eat eggs as well as whole grains like brown rice, high-fiber fruit like apples and leafy green vegetables.

Health Benefits of Eggs

Eggs are an excellent source of muscle-building protein—roughly 6 grams in a large egg, about the equivalent of an ounce of meat, fish or poultry. Additionally, eggs contain all nine essential amino acids that the body needs on a daily basis: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.

As far as vitamins and minerals, whole eggs contain vitamin A, choline (important for brain health), lutein and zeaxanthin (to help protect your eyes) and potassium. Finally, eggs are one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D.

For anyone focused on stretching their grocery budget: at about 15 cents each, eggs are a healthy and cost-effective complete protein source.

Eggs and Cholesterol

While eggs are a higher source of cholesterol (one large egg contains 212 mg), in the context of a healthy diet, Stone says most people do not need to avoid them. And that’s good news, since half the egg’s protein is found in the yolk. Plus, the fat in the yolk aids in absorption of nutrients.

And contrary to what you might have heard about eggs, many studies show that eggs may actually improve your cholesterol levels—they raise the “good” HDL cholesterol and there’s no proven connection between heart disease and egg consumption.

However, if you or your physician are worried about cholesterol, you can always reduce the number of yolks you consume. “The great news is the egg whites are virtually fat- and cholesterol-free,” Stone says.

Ways to Add More Eggs to Your Diet

Because many breakfast foods are high in carbohydrates and because people are often more insulin-resistant in the morning, Stone says eggs make an excellent substitute for many traditional breakfast foods.

“For my cereal-addicted patients, I recommend an egg white omelet or two whites and one yolk with chopped veggies and whole wheat toast,” she says. “Then I advise they look at their blood sugars 90 minutes later compared to 90 minutes after their cereal breakfast. I think they will find that their sugars are significantly lower with the omelet breakfast.”

For people who don’t like hot eggs—like scrambled or over-easy—deviled eggs can be an excellent way to add protein to a salad. Egg salad is another great option any time of day.

For more ideas, check out these brunch recipes for people with diabetes.

How Many Eggs Can People with Diabetes Eat a Day?

“It is difficult to determine how many egg yolks to advise a person to have because it is based on their risk factors and should be evaluated in the context of their total diet,” says Stone.

A good rule of thumb may be to follow the American Heart Association‘s recommendation of one egg (or two egg whites) per day. But more could be OK too, as one study found that eating 12 eggs a week for three months did not increase cardiovascular risk factors for people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

Breakfast Ideas for People with Type 2 Diabetes
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Jill Schildhouse
As an editor at large for Taste of Home, Jill Schildhouse is an expert in health and wellness, beauty, consumer products and product reviews, travel, and personal finance. She has spent the last 20 years as an award-winning lifestyle writer and editor for a variety of national print and digital publications.